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Mobile

 

(ScGbt: t. 283; a. 3 32-pdr. sb., 1 32-pdr. r., 1 8" sb., probably 1 addl. r.)

 

Mobile was a wooden steamer built at Philadelphia in 1860; home port: Mobile. Alleged to be worth $40,000, she apparently was picked up for a $5,000 lien by Comdr. W. W. Hunter, CSN, in July 1861, already having been under seizure in Berwick Bay, La., since 4 May.

 

Her chronology thereafter has piqued many a researcher: She made five successful dashes—no doubt only to Cuba or the Bahamas—as a blockade runner, yet on 8 October she had "been fitting out there [Berwick City] for some time" under Lts. Francis E. Shepperd and George S. Shryock, CSN, reporting to Flag Officer G. N. Hollins; engines and boilers were already protected by 12-inch timbers clad with railroad iron. On 19 December, Union intelligence learned she was a ship of "about 400 tons, thoroughly strengthened and armed with 4 or 6 heavy guns, two of them rifled."

 

By 1 February 1862, when she engaged USS Hatteras in Atchafalaya Bay, La., Mobile was described as a "long, low, three-masted steamer," ostensibly able to give a good account of herself. From June 1862 to the following May, all sources place her up the Yazoo River under command of Lieutenant Shepperd but variously alleged to be laid up at Yazoo City or ordered to sink any vessel attempting to pass the barrier at Liverpool. Whatever his information or motives, a deserter as late as 13 May 1863 thought it news that she was a "small boat" still "being converted into an ironclad gunboat" in the Yazoo. Scarcely more than a week later, the 21st, it is certain she was burned to escape capture by Admiral D. D. Porter's approaching squadron, taking the evidence to the bottom.